Russell Westbrook came to L.A. with great expectations. As a multiple-time All-Star and former MVP of the league, there was strong hope and optimism among Lakers fans that he would be the guy to help deliver another title to the franchise.
Instead, the team was plunged into chaos almost immediately. As the Lakers played subpar basketball on the court, Westbrook grew resistant to the coaching staff behind the scenes.
By the end, the Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention and Russ was left with a heap of blame to carry. In the exit interviews on Monday, he spoke rather candidly about the season and insisted he was never given a fair chance to be who he needed to be.
“When I first got here and just being a person that, unfortunately, people create narratives of me and who I am and what I do, what I believe in that are just not true," Westbrook told reporters. "I’m always having to, like, prove myself again year after year after year which is, to me, just unfair, there’s really no reason I have to do that. So, when I first got here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I needed to be to be able to help this team.”
Westbrook, 33, is as controversial of a player as they come. Through 78 games this season, he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game on 44% shooting. Those are some of the lowest marks of his entire career.
This summer, maybe he'll look inward and return next season with a fresh perspective on the situation and where it all went wrong.